Monday, December 3, 2007

On the consequences of marriage

I’ve been thinking about this for quite a while now, and I could no longer hold the thought in my head or I’d risk its mutation and ultimately I’d be seen as, well…. You don’t want to know.
The crazy time of life has begun for a lot of people, it couldn’t me more so if you are 23 and Indian, it doesn’t matter much if you’re from north or south or if you’re male or female, although females face a greater risk from this phenomenon I’m talking about. This is a strange thing (at least for me) called marriage!! This phenomenon strikes you as a wake up call to remind you, question you, warn you and just simply announce that the phase of stagnation has arrived, look at what you have done so far, whatever you have done so far is enough, well, even though it’s not enough, I’m barging in! Don’t be startled, I’ve personified marriage in a person and am mentioning the conversation between myself and it (hypothetical). I must admit that I, frankly, think the people (of my age, even girls) have gone mad over it. And I fail to understand why, may be they fail to understand what I’m thinking about it. But, just over the past two months, most of my friends have either spoken, thought, contemplated or are fascinated by marriage, and another set have been engaged to get, in the process of getting engaged to get or have already been in, marriage! There you see, for them, no matter how you see it, it always comes back to that single word.
Quite recently, I had told people close to me that I considered 26 to be the age, NO! not for marriage, hold your horses, I see 26 as a benchmark, that once crossed, you can close your eyes and ride a bike in confidence that you’ll live up to at least seventy, your second benchmark. So, as I see it, living up till a healthy seventy gives you good time to do something to be at least of a miniscule importance to humanity, or at worst, to the people around you at least. This age, I fixed based on a lot of observation and some quiet collection of statistics from the events I could see, hear, read and observe, sometimes painfully in my own circle of friends. There have been people who’ve changed far beyond recognition, who’s had their whole school of thought reversed, who’ve come up to be extremely good in things, and some who’ve begun substance addiction too, some who’ve gone into their cocoons and some who’ve just come out of their cocoons. There are some who’ve had life changing experiences, life ending experiences (almost). Accidents, major injury, both physical and mental, and sadly in a few cases, succumbing to those injuries and yours truly has experienced many of these things himself in the course of his life and his struggle to survive. And more recently, there has been this thing called marriage added to the list.
I’ve had many views about whether marriage is essential and if it is, what’s the age at which you have to get married. Well starting from many age groups, people have their own views, based on their own experiences. If you take my granny for example, she already had a kid or two at my age, if you ask a middle aged person, they say they want to get rid of the responsibility of their daughter before their health fails them or people will question their capacity or the girl’s health or ability (or sometimes character, sorry, had to mention that). Granny says, the girl is old enough to have a family of her own and it’s about time to learn responsibilities that she’s supposed to marriage. Granny can say that because the girls of her age never glimpsed the sight of adolescence and its many wonders. As soon as their child bearing years set in, they became an overhead to the family. The financial positions of olden day families never allowed them to keep girls (whom they’d have to give away anyway, as they saw it) for a long time. So they were sent off to have families of their own and from then followed a trend to this day of giving away girls, in marriage, at a relatively young age. But lately, the youth enjoy adolescence for the longest time compared to the past; they’ll have the time, money, energy and resources to do anything they feel like, explore things, explore what they’re good at and just, you know, discovering “self”. Buckling on the pressure that the human hormones (and sometimes, only pheromones) create, they also do the inevitable, fall in love, or as they put it, hopelessly, madly and deeply in love, they do it cause right about now, the opposite sex (whichever you may belong to) will start looking, sounding and feeling at its best. True that the females of our species have a clock ticking which will stop at about two decades from now (roughly), if they happen to be of my age, but no need to sound any alarms yet, another decade from now, at the worst, doesn’t hurt at all. But also I guess the views of the parents have also changed. Anyway, all that is immaterial for my course of argument as to why I think this is too early an age to enter “holy matrimony”. I kind of stumbled upon this thought just casually one day, I don’t even remember why and what I was doing at that time. I suppose it’ll be called outrageous, rubbish or weird by many, but I kind of wondered, I am still a kid, I don’t know about the other, this is one time where it’s safer to speak for myself than be eternally hated by the world and having to face their wrath all the time. As I was saying, I am still a kid, I still don’t know myself, my own abilities and I am convinced with decent amount of evidence that what I have seen so far isn’t all that I am. See, according to me, every time I master a new skill, as simple as it may be, it will be coded in my genes. I guess you people know where I am heading now, yes, when I still don’t know what I am truly capable of doing, I don’t know what I’ll be passing on to an offspring of mine in terms of genetic material. There are some things that I, inevitably, have to pass on. But the rest, like learning ability, my I.Q., skills, my personality, the whole deal. You know, and to add to it, you’ll dilute it with the genes of the spouse, may be reinforce some good qualities too, but the flaws show up just as easily as the brilliance during childhood, and it’s more easy to mask the brilliance with them. Of course, there’s always the option of having a kid later and so on and so forth, but I’m not here to advocate family planning :). But I say, once you enter marriage, it’s a struggle to keep it alive, because if you don’t, then you might as well have remained single, and when you start that struggle, you’ll realize that you’ll involuntarily have to dedicate time and effort, which in effect, basically dampens whatever you’re trying to achieve.
Well, having made this controversial claim, it’s always time for the standard disclaimer that I don’t mean to profess my thought on anyone, but rather to cause a tingle in the minds of the people who already have this thought, for people who are already married and reading this, just dismiss it, with a laugh, as the confessions of a maniac, for the rest, well, comments welcome :)